Saturday, July 30, 2011

Quiet Saturday morning

 I'm still home, writing.  I managed to snap a photo of one of my companions out here...the hummingbird who sits on the jade plant out on the deck...

It's usually when the feeder is occupied by some of the more noisy birds, tussling for position, that this one will sit and watch.  It's been hard to catch it in a photo because it doesn't sit for long, and I'm usually clumsy and loud about getting the camera ready.

Finally I got the photo by leaving the camera set up on the table, pointed at the jade plant so that all I had to do when my friend arrived was to reach over, push the 'on' button, then the shutter.  A little grainy from the zoom, but there it is!

 Couldn't stand it last night anymore.

After a day of writing I just had to get my hands on those rocks!  I played until it was too dark to see what I was doing.  It's a good thing I stopped, too, as there's one there that's sitting too proud and will have to be re-set.  No amount of pounding with my rubber mallet will get it to sit lower on that corner, so, biting the bullet, it will get pulled  today.

I love how the river rocks give way to the flagstone.  Soft edges meet hard corners.  And all the colours in the's amazing.  I can't wait to get it all in so that I can clean it up a little and let the colours glow.

As usual, this is going together in an kind of unorthodox way.  I figured that this sand is all pretty hard packed because we walk on it all the time, it's been under that piece of fake grass you can see folded up to the side.  As the rocks are not all the same thickness, there's not a lot of point in me excavating everything to the same depth before putting the rock into it.  I've been working with my line level to ensure that the walking surface is flat and level (slight grade toward where the lawn will be, as I want it to drain that way), and scraping out the area for each group of rocks as I go, putting sand back in and pounding the heck out of it when I need to, and pulling more out when the rock sits too proud.  It's a slow process, but very satisfying.

The final shot here is of the area toward the driveway, across the front of the house.  I want the stone to continue across in a walkway through here.  The idea behind this is that it will be easier and tidier for mowing maintenance - and I think it'll just look good.

Well, I should get back to writing - er, writing what I'm supposed to be writing!

Happy Saturday,

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Watching the grass grow...among other things...

 My fellas are all still away, camping up in Nakusp with friends and family.  I'm here at home, watching the grass grow...and writing like a madwoman.

I'm working on something kind of special, something that I've been involved in for over a year and half...and before that there was at least 1 and maybe 2 years of background consultation and research done by one of my colleagues in this endeavour (who is also my friend).

There are 6 of us writing and preparing a training course that will be offered through Selkirk College this fall, in their CE (Continuing Education) catalogue.  It's a Home Share and Respite Care course to train people who would like to work in those capacities with people who have disabilities.  The Province is moving away from group homes as a housing model, and toward Home Share which is a really good option for many people.  At this time there is not a lot of training available for people who would like to do this type of work, to share their home with a person who has a disability and support them in their daily endeavors, and we are hoping, respectfully and humbly, to fill that gap. We've formed a small company called ShelterGuides.  We're in the process of building our website, and of filling the Moodle (teaching/learning content management system) with our coursework.

Writing the curriculum is an interesting experience.  We're doing everything collaboratively, mindful of the different draws and claims that exist on each other's lives.  We initially joined together not knowing each other, or not knowing each other well - but through this process have become friends.  I'm amazed by the intelligence, strength and experience that each of these women brings to the table.  It's phenomenal.

 So, I'm sitting here, out on our deck, with my dog and the crazy hummingbirds.  There are so many birds right now that it feels dangerous sometimes to sit here...I realize that I have a lot of faith in their reflexes, that they won't actually skewer me with their little beaks (at high speed)!  There have been a couple of moments that have felt (to me) like close calls...those pesky birds are probably buzzing me for fun, then going off to laugh about it...

It's pretty peaceful.  I mean, aside from the crazy birds.  The grass is growing, the dog is snoring.  I'm typing.

Yesterday I took time out to go and get rocks...thanks to our neighbour and his kick-ass trailer.  We moved a ton...yep a ton of flagstone from the rock yard near Salmo to here. 

This morning I went and bought a mason's chisel and maul, and tried my hand at splitting one of these bad boys...and, although I definitely have lots to learn, I think I'll be able to split some of the thicker ones down to approximately the same thickness as the others before setting them in to the patio area.

But I'm being very good, very disciplined.  I'll get my piece of the writing done before going out to play with the rocks.  I promise.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Something that's just for fun

I'm on my own here today and for the next few days while all the boys are up camping in Nakusp.  The weather is gorgeous for them - and I think this has been on of the coolest Julys on record! 

The fellas all left this morning and I have been here writing in the 25 minute intervals between each move of the sprinkler. It's strange to spend a day in little, measured increments like that. Why moving the sprinkler? Because we have a large swath of land that we're improving to be pasture for the sheep we're expecting this fall.

Toward the end of the day here I got playing with the functionality of my laptop - it's still pretty new to me and I've not really just let my hair down and monkeyed around yet.  So here I offer you a silly little video to introduce any of you who have not met him to our big dog, Dude:


I think that moving the sprinkler and Dude will be forever linked in my mind as, with all the baby grass out there, we can not just let him roam free the way we usually do... the poor oaf is sentenced to the end of the leash until the grass is big enough to withstand his Brobdingnagian paws.  Poor pup.  Oh look - it's time to move the sprinkler again - and Dude is waiting at the door for a walk! 


Friday, July 01, 2011

A little experiment

I've been playing a bit here, on this sunny Canada Day morning.

Yesterday was the last day of work for me at school. True to form - I'm sick.  It would seem that every time we come up to a school holiday for the past two years I take the opportunity to grab whatever airborne bugs are out there and offer them a home in my upper respiratory system! I've had no voice since Tuesday, and now have a cough as well.

The last few weeks have been exceptionally busy with school ending for both boys and for me, and all the other things that seem to happen at this time of year.  Soccer ended (temporarily - it starts again in the fall).  Each of the boys and I all had different end-of-school activities (mostly field trips of one kind and another).

We had lovely company for a few days, with DH's sister and brother in law coming from Oman.  It was pretty special for us for them to come at this particular time of year and be part of all our different celebrations. They live so far away these days that we rarely get to share our milestones with them.  We not only got to do the big, important things (like see Youngest complete Elementary School), but little day to day things (like eating together, playing cards, hiking, visiting).  All in all, a really sweet time.

This morning found me up with nothing in particular on my agenda for the first time in a very long time.  I sat down with my little water colour set and played with painting a couple of special things that we've received as gifts over last year.  The table runner is indigo dyed (from Japan originally) given us by my Mom-in-Law last year at Christmas.  It seemed the perfect backdrop for the Koran stand that Sister-and-Brother-in-Law gave us last year when they visited from Oman.

I've wanted to try to paint or draw the stand for a long time, as it has such wonderful texture.  Each of the individual tool marks show on the carved part of the stand.  I love being able to see the actions of the artist in the art!  I had a drawing teacher once, years ago, who said we should only take photos of things no one would believe if they saw them in drawing form...and I have to say, that stuck with me.  There are many times that I take photos for reference for drawing only to sit down and discover that the photos cannot be interpreted that way.  There are places both for photos to record what we can not draw, and a place for drawing to record all the rest of what we see.  Sometimes the actions of the artist would obscure the art - then it is always better to simply take a picture.

The second half of the experiment was to try to use Gimp to edit my photo for posting.  I'm new to Gimp, but wanted to give it a whirl after all I've been reading about it.  It's open source, which seems to be the direction that I'm heading with all the programs in my life.  I missed using PhotoImpact10 (simply because I've used it for years and it's like second nature to me anymore), but it's not available in the form it used to be - maybe it's becoming obsolete?  Hmmm.  Gotta try to stay current, whether it's easy or not!

Here's to summer, here's to family, here's to time to play and learn.

Happy Canada Day, everyone!